IV Therapy For Weight Loss

weight loss

IV therapy for weight loss

Most of us know the importance of nutrition and exercise for maintaining a healthy weight. But thanks to the constant buzz around fad diets and quick fix fitness programs, these two pillars of healthy living are often practiced within the parameters of calorie restriction: cutting calories to stay lean and exercising vigorously to burn what we eat.

This formula for weight loss is an oversimplification. Yes, fueling our bodies with too many of the wrong types of nutrients may lead to weight gain. However, even if you follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly, desired results may still elude you without the right mix of nutrients to supercharge your metabolism and amplify your fitness regime.

If you want to take your weight loss & detox journey to the next level, regular nutrient IV therapy can improve your results if combined with a healthy nutrition and exercise plan. Here’s how.

 

IV therapy promotes better nutrient absorption

It’s a slow process to fully digest a meal – anywhere between two to five days – and at the end of all that work, it’s possible that your body may absorb only 10% of the nutrients consumed. The truth is, our digestive system is powerful but fickle. Any number of things can throw the efficacy of its nutrient absorption out of whack, from the foods that we choose to eat, to the way we prepare our meal, and even the time of day that we sit down to eat.

If you count on a cup of coffee to get you up in the morning or a nice glass of wine to wind down in the evening, you’ll want to keep reading. Caffeine and alcohol have both been proven to affect nutrient absorption and are linked to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.

Enter IV therapy. Unlike oral consumption, IV therapy bypasses digestion and delivers nutrients directly to the bloodstream. This means that much higher concentrations of the administered nutrients are absorbed and circulated into the nervous system, fueling critical bodily functions – many of which are critical for weight loss.

 

IV nutrient bags are formulated specifically for weight loss

When we talk about nutrients, what we are really referring to is the full span of essential compounds that give us life. This includes macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – and micronutrients – vitamins and minerals. While macronutrients fuel our daily functioning, micronutrients build the foundation for them to do so effectively.

That’s why supporting a healthy diet with the right ensemble of micronutrients can maximize your weight loss results. At Spark Health, our  IV Therapy formulation for weight loss supports healthy fat metabolism, facilitates energy production, promotes maintenance of lean body mass, and supports balanced thyroid and adrenal function. The formulation includes L-carnitine, Glutathione, Methionine, Inositol, Choline, and Vitamin B12.

L-carnitine is an amino acid derivative shown to increase the function of mitochondria, the energy-producing machines found in our cells. L-carnitine revs our metabolism, while also supporting our nerves, brain, and heart. Studies have shown that people who receive carnitine lose more weight and show a decrease in body mass index (BMI) compared to those who do not.

Glutathione is a crucial IV component for anyone who is on a weight loss or detox protocol. As we burn fat, we are also releasing many toxins into the bloodstream. Glutathione is a fantastic antioxidant, and can be thought of like a Pac-man that goes into the bloodstream to chomp up toxins.

MIC (Methionine, Inositol, Choline) is known as the ‘weight loss’ nutrient combination, and packs a triple punch. Methionine, an essential amino acid, helps the liver break down fat and aids in the production of glutathione. Inositol improves insulin sensitivity in the body making it critical for fat metabolism and fat-burning liver function. Finally. choline regulates cholesterol and fat transport around the body.

Methylcobalamin (Vitamin B12) helps convert your food into energy. At Spark Health, we use Methylcobalamin, the form of vitamin B12 that can be utilized immediately by the body. Supplementation of Methylcobalamin also supports the immune system, so you can stay well and continue to exercise and eat healthy.

 

IV therapy is administered by naturopathic doctors with your weight loss goals in mind

Behind the IV therapy services at Spark Health is a team of naturopathic doctors committed to personalized medicine and a high standard of medical care. Our naturopathic doctors are experts in optimizing results and customizing a weight loss plan that is personalized for your body’s unique physiology.

If you are interested in learning more about our Weight Management or Detox offerings, or would like to book an IV therapy appointment call 858-228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark Health Integrated Medicine is located in Solana Beach, San Diego County, CA. Founded in 2013, we take a collaborative approach to natural medicine, partnering with patients to help them achieve their unique health and wellness goals. If you would like to perform better in the areas of life that matter most to you, book a consultation with one of our doctors today!

 

The Spark Team

IV Therapy For Improved Energy

mom and daughter playing basketball

Are you looking to support your energy levels naturally, without the need for caffeine or energy drinks?

Are you sick of the midday work slump? Are you wanting to improve your stamina at the gym? If you answered yes to any or all of these, you are the perfect candidate for IV therapy! IV therapy is a fantastic way to support natural energy levels. When administered intravenously, nutrients are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, allowing them to bypass the digestive tract and head straight for the target tissues. In contrast, a large proportion of the nutrients we consume orally are poorly absorbed by our digestive system and never make it to our central nervous system at all. Unlike coffee or energy drinks, the nutrients found in our IV energy bags are natural substances that the body already recognizes and produces itself, creating steady and calming energy that can last up to a week. Read on to learn how each of these energy-producing nutrients can nourish the body, prevent cellular damage, support healthy energy levels, and rebuild muscle.

Taurine powers harder work and sounder sleep

Taurine, which is normally found in meat, fish, and dairy, is an amino acid that is great for improving energy and athletic performance. Just 7 days of taurine supplementation has been shown to result in significant increases in exercise time to exhaustion; most likely due to taurine’s superior antioxidant activity and its ability to improve cellular protection. As a result, taurine plays an important role in cardiovascular health. In addition to powering rigorous workouts, taurine has also been shown to have a modulatory effect on the neurological system and can improve sleep quality. Sleeping better at night means more energy in the daytime.

L-Carnitine drives sustained focus and optimal performance

L-carnitine is the ultimate amino acid for improving energy. It drastically improves the function of mitochondria, our body’s tiny energy producing machines located in all of our cells. Our muscles are packed full of these tiny energy machines, so when they are working optimally, we perform at our best. The other tissues that contain a lot of mitochondria are our nerves, our brain, and our heart, so supplementation of L-carnitine

aids these tissues as well. L-carnitine is also an important building block for certain neurotransmitters that are needed for optimal cognitive functioning, giving us the mental energy we require to properly match our physical energy levels.

Essential (and non-essential) amino acids build muscle and strength

Amino acids are the basic building blocks of every protein in our body. There are two types of amino acids: essential and non-essential. Our bodies can’t create the essential amino acids, so we have to rely on food or supplementation to receive them. And although our bodies can synthesize the non-essential amino acids, we are often depleted of them. These amino acids are important for supporting all of the body’s biochemical processes, such as building, growing, and repairing muscle tissue, so we add a generous dose of amino acids to our “Energize” Vitamin IV.

B Vitamins drive post-meal energy production

B vitamins tend to be very depleted in times of stress and fatigue. B5 (dexpanthenol) is a component of the coenzymes that help our body process the nutrients we use for fuel (such as fats, carbs, and protein), and fuel gives us energy! B12 (methylcobalamin) is also fantastic for supporting energy levels, as it helps convert food into energy. At Spark Health, we use Methylcobalamin, the form of vitamin B12 that can be utilized immediately by the body. This is crucial for those who have MTHFR genetic mutations that make it difficult to convert certain vitamins into their active forms.

Vitamin C combats the midday slump

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supports healthy adrenal gland function. The adrenal glands produce hormones that help modulate our stress response, and also play a role in producing sex hormones. It just so happens that the adrenal glands require a large amount of vitamin C in order to properly make these hormones and when our adrenal glands are not functioning properly, it can lead to fatigue and low energy levels. Vitamin C is particularly difficult to supplement in large amounts without digestive side effects, which makes it a great choice for intravenous administration.

Each one of these nutrients pack a punch on their own, but when combined together in our IV energy formulas, they unlock a level of cognitive and physical functioning unachievable simply through dietary supplements or energy drinks. Our energy formulas include the “Energy Fast Bag” – a great choice for new patients or those looking for an IV experience that lasts approximately 20 minutes – and the “Energize Bag” – best for established Spark Health Patients interested in a full size IV. To learn more about our IV therapy offerings, check out our full menu of formulas or reach out to us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com. We look forward to working with you to achieve your highest expression of health!

Spark Health Integrated Medicine is located in Solana Beach, San Diego County, CA. Founded in 2013, we take a collaborative approach to natural medicine, partnering with patients to help them achieve their unique health and wellness goals. If you would like to perform better in the areas of life that matter most to you, book a consultation with one of our doctors today. Call us at 858-228-4188 or visit our website at www.mysparkhealth.com.

– The Spark Team

 

Nutrients

Nutrients

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

1. B Complex contains Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (dexpanthenol), and B6 (pyridoxine). B1 (Thiamine) is an important coenzyme for the metabolism of neurotransmitters, carbohydrates and branched chain amino acids. Thiamine is also important for the health of our red blood cells and is traditionally known as being extremely depleted by alcohol consumption. B2 (Riboflavin) helps support the function of other B vitamins and helps to support the antioxidant function of glutathione. B3 (Niacin) is crucial for cardiovascular health and for protecting our DNA. Niacin is especially helpful in patients with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). Niacin has been shown in research to increase HDL (“good” cholesterol), lowers LDL (“bad cholesterol”, and decreases plaque buildup in the arteries, especially the carotid artery. B5 (Dexpanthenol) is a component of the coenzyme that helps our body process nutrients (fats, carbs and protein). It also protects our nerves and has been shown to aid in lowering cholesterol and improving wound healing. B6 (Pyridoxine) is essential in producing norepinephrine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters in regulating mood and sleep. 

1. B Complex contains Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (dexpanthenol), and B6 (pyridoxine). B1 (Thiamine) is an important coenzyme for the metabolism of neurotransmitters, carbohydrates and branched chain amino acids. Thiamine is also important for the health of our red blood cells and is traditionally known as being extremely depleted by alcohol consumption. B2 (Riboflavin) helps support the function of other B vitamins and helps to support the antioxidant function of glutathione. B3 (Niacin) is crucial for cardiovascular health and for protecting our DNA. Niacin is especially helpful in patients with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). Niacin has been shown in research to increase HDL (“good” cholesterol), lowers LDL (“bad cholesterol”, and decreases plaque buildup in the arteries, especially the carotid artery. B5 (Dexpanthenol) is a component of the coenzyme that helps our body process nutrients (fats, carbs and protein). It also protects our nerves and has been shown to aid in lowering cholesterol and improving wound healing. B6 (Pyridoxine) is essential in producing norepinephrine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters in regulating mood and sleep. 

2. B5- (Dexpanthenol)  Found naturally in avocado, yogurt, tuna, and chicken, dexpanthenol is a vitamin that is actually synthesized by our own gut bacteria! It is a component of the coenzyme that helps our body process nutrients (fats, carbs and protein) and protects our nerves. Deficiencies of dexpanthenol can manifest as numbness, tingling, burning, or fatigue. Dexpanthenol has also been shown to be helpful in lowering cholesterol and reducing high triglycerides, and has been shown in research to significantly improve wound healing.

3. B6 (Pyridoxine)  Found naturally in bananas, carrots, spinach, peas, potatoes, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, legumes, and sunflower seeds, Vitamin B6 is essential in producing norepinephrine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters in regulating mood and sleep. 

4. B12 (Methylcobalamin)  Found naturally in meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, and other animal sources, and therefore tends to be deficient in our vegetarian and vegan patients. Symptoms of low B12 can manifest in numbness and tingling in the feet or hands, difficulty with mental tasks, fatigue, or memory loss. Vit. B12 is critical for the manufacture of red blood cells, the health of our nerves, and the protection of our DNA.  B12 is also helpful for patients with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or a history of gastric bypass surgery who don’t absorb Vitamin B12 as well as others in the gastrointestinal tract. B12 has been shown to effectively reduce high homocystine, which has been associated with cardiovascular disease risk. 

5. 5-MTHF(L-methylfolate) is the biologically active form of B9 (folate). The folic acid we ingest from food must be converted into Dihydrofolate (DHF), then to Tetrahydrofolate (THF), and then finally into L-methylfolate (5-MTHF) to be used in the body. It is estimated that more than half of the U.S. population has a genetic enzyme defect making it difficult to convert folic acid into its active form. 5-MTHF is also a key player in the production of neurotransmitters.

6. Taurine – Taurine is an essential nutrient for cardiovascular function and has been associated with reduced risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Taurine is a known antioxidant and has been shown in research to prevent the pro-oxidant effects of exercise, making it great for athletes. It has been shown in research to aid in weight loss and decrease cholesterol levels.

7. L-carnitine – Naturally found in red meat, fish, poultry, milk, this compound has been shown to increase the function of mitochondria, our body’s tiny energy-producing machines located in all of our cells. L-carnitine is also known to support our nerves, brain, and heart.

8. Glycine – is an amino acid that is a building block for many proteins in the body. It acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord, and is well known to help improve sleep quality.

9. Magnesium  – Found in spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, magnesium is a crucial nutrient. There is overwhelming evidence to support magnesium’s use for lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiac death.

10. MIC (Methionine Inositol Choline ) – known as the ‘weight loss’ nutrient combination, helping with fat burning and speeding up metabolism. Methionine, an essential amino acid, helps the liver break down fat. Inositol is critical for fat metabolism aid in fat-burning liver function, while choline regulates cholesterol and fat transport around the body, preventing it from depositing in one place.

11. L-Arginine – L-Arginine is one of the “star” nutrients responsible for cardiovascular health. It is a precursor to nitric oxide, the molecule responsible for vasodilation (opening our blood vessels wider to allow for better circulation, better delivery of oxygen and other nutrients). L-Arginine is a popular nutrient supplemented by athletes before a workout to increase. It is also known to increase libido and enhance sexual performance. L-Arginine has been shown to enhance blood flow to the genital area. For men, it is known to enhance quality of erections, and for women, it increases tissue sensitivity enhancing sexual stimulation.

12. Glutathione  is nature’s antioxidant. Synthesized in the body from the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine, glutathione is an amazing detoxification nutrient. An easy way to understand the function of Glutathione is as a “mop” that goes around the body and sweeps up toxins. The body naturally produces it, but we are almost always depleted of it because of the amount of toxicity we are exposed to on a daily basis. From pesticides and chemicals hidden in our food to car exhaust on the road, toxins are a part of our life, whether we like it or not.  Glutathione is our favorite antioxidant compound because the liver uses it for phase two detoxification (the breakdown of water soluble toxins). After glutathione does its work, we are able to eliminate the toxins as safe byproducts. Other than supplementation, there are many additional ways to get your daily dose of glutathione. Moderate exercise is associated with higher natural levels of glutathione, especially a combination of aerobic and weight training. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables (such as brussels sprouts and broccoli) are associated with increased glutathione levels. All of our full size IVs here at Spark come with glutathione, delivered separately for maximum efficacy. If you’re coming to Spark for one of our awesome “Fast Bags”, consider adding a Glutathione push!

For more information about micronutrient testing, Vitamin IV’s or Vitamin Shots, please call Spark Health today at (858) 228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com . Spark Health is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!

Thank you,

` The Spark Team

Functional Medicine Takes Your Body’s Resilience and Wellness to the Next Level

IV therapy in San Diego

Wellness is a constant battle in a world full of health detriments. We read food labels. We avoid fumes from cars and cleaning products. We seek time to exercise and ways to make our jobs less sedentary. We manage stress.

The world wasn’t always like this. For all the solutions of modern medicine and technology, we have lost a purity of our environment, adding new challenges. Life in a city, even one of moderate population density like San Diego, makes these factors more prevalent.

Health Challenges We All Face

Chronic stress, sedentary routines, processed foods, and air pollution are all challenges that have arisen with modern times.

Stress, for example, evolved in nature to trigger survival instincts, not to deal with deadlines, finances, or traffic jams. These days, stress can make toxins harder to eliminate and quality sleep harder to achieve, depleting our body function, brain function, and overall wellbeing.

Our body’s detox system was also developed in a less polluted world. Fortunately, it is possible to eliminate build up toxins from our bodies and diet.

Air pollution; however, is something that it is impossible to avoid and its effects can be as damaging as smoking. San Diego ranks 6th in the United States for cities with the most ozone pollution.

Since we can’t avoid certain health factors, we need a leg up to beat them. That is why Spark Health strives to be a leader in integrative medicine in San Diego.

Solutions We Can All Employ

Diet and exercise are an important foundation for a sound mind and body. For most people, an ideal exercise routine is daily cardio and/or aerobic with intermittent weight training. A balanced diet is crucial with the right variety of vitamins and nutrients to boost your system and keep it at optimal level. Antioxidants are our best weapon to fight toxicity.

Free Radicals are unstable molecules that cause heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. They can come from air pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and more. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.

Solution – Integrative Medicine and IV Therapy

Functional medicine takes your body’s resilience and wellness to the next level. Spark Health is a leading Naturopathic practice providing nutrition counseling, vitamin injections and IV therapy in San Diego to name a few.  Each IV therapy session includes a shot of glutathione, your body’s most important anti-oxidant. Glutathione optimizes the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients in each treatment, which are tailored to promote a range of benefits, from general health and restoration, to weight loss, athleticism, and mood.

Integrative and functional medicine allow your cells and organs to better process the nutrients consumed and in return provide a vitality that enables you to be more active, aware and productive.

With integrative medicine, we can definitively win the fight against health hazards that are all around us and become our best selves. To learn more or to book a visit please visit www.MySparkHealth.com or contact Spark Health at 858.228.4188 with any questions.

How Can Naturopathic Medicine Support Cancer Treatment?

Spark Lifestyle Services

Naturopathic Medicine and Cancer

Many patients that are diagnosed with cancer feel overwhelmed and are looking for guidance in treatment options, as well as recommendations for natural therapies that can help support them through treatment.

Working with a Naturopathic Doctor that is trained in and specializes in integrative cancer treatment can allow patients to receive the benefit of conventional treatments while minimizing negative side effects.

Naturopathic doctors who specialize in naturopathic oncology understand both the standard treatments used by medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, and how best to work in a collaborative model of cancer co-treatment.

There are many ways in which naturopathic oncology care can benefit patients.

Many patients experience side effects from chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, including hot flashes, insomnia, taste changes, mouth sores, fatigue, bowel changes, nausea and neuropathy.

Naturopathic medicine can help to prevent and minimize the risk of these side effects so that patients can maintain their regular treatment schedule without interruption, and can help resolve lingering side effects from conventional treatment.

Screening for any potential interactions between conventional and natural cancer therapies is another important component of integrative cancer care, as these interactions may affect the efficacy of treatment.

After patients have completed treatment, we work to support the natural cancer-fighting ability of the immune system to help prevent recurrences or other types of cancer.

Naturopathic Medicine at Spark Health

If you are interested in learning more about how naturopathic medicine can support your cancer treatment, please reach out and give us a call at 858-228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com. We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals! 

The Spark Health Clinic is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. 

Thank you,

Dr. Aliza Cicerone

Medical Director at Spark Health

Here are the Differences Between B12 Shots and Vitamin IVs.

two people receiving IV therapy treatments

 

B12 Shots and Vitamin IVs

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

Patients often ask about the difference between getting a B12 Shot and getting a Vitamin IV. These two services are both valuable in their own ways, depending on what your health goals are!

When and why should I come in for a B12 shot? 

We generally recommend coming in for a B12 shot weekly for health maintenance, or as needed for specific health concerns.

The great thing about the B12 shots at Spark Health is that we put much more than B12 in our shots. We have 16 proprietary nutrient blends for all types of health goals, from increased energy to immune health to detox.

Our shots have been formulated by world class experts in injectable nutrients.

Rather than giving 1mL of vitamin B12 and sending you on your way, we jam pack our shots with up to 3mL of nutrients!

These injections go directly into the muscle and slowly absorb into the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Our B12 shots are also helpful when you need a quick boost and don’t have the time to get a vitamin IV. 

Does the B12 shot hurt? 

The B12 shot is given into the top of the gluteal muscle with a very small needle, and we add anesthetic to make it a very comfortable experience for our patients. Most patients describe it as feeling like a little pinch.

What are the benefits of B12?

Vitamin B12 aids in the conversion of food (fat, protein and carbohydrates) into energy. 

Vitamin B12 may be depleted due to various factors, including:

  • irritable bowel disease
  • celiac disease
  • bariatric surgery
  • certain infections (such as H. Pylori)
  • certain diets (vegetarian and vegan)
  • certain medications (such as oral contraceptives, PPIs, Metformin, antibiotics and corticosteroids) (3, 4, 5) 

Vitamin B12 is also necessary for immune health. Deficiency of this vitamin in humans has been shown in research to decrease lymphocytes and suppress natural killer (NK) cell activity.

NK cells are a type of white blood cell that attack cells infected by viruses. Supplementation of Vitamin B12 reverses these effects, providing us with the defenders necessary to keep us healthy. (1, 2)

What type of B12 do you use?

Here at Spark Health, we love B12 and use a specific form known as methylcobalamin. 

Methylcobalamin is the form of vitamin B12 that can be used immediately without modification or conversion in the body.

This is especially important for people with genetic mutations that make it difficult to activate compounds in the body by methylation.

When and why should I come in for a vitamin IV?

Vitamin IVs are valuable in their ability to deliver plenty of nutrients at once, with 100% bioavailability.

A vitamin IV has more room for nutrients than a vitamin shot, so it is helpful when you need a lot of support fast!

We recommend coming in for a vitamin IV at the first sign of a cold, or whenever you’re feeling fatigued or lacking energy.

The nutrients in a vitamin IV go directly into the bloodstream and are delivered to the tissues that need them most.

Here at Spark Health, our “fast bag” vitamin IVs take about 15-20 minutes to drip, are only $85, and contain all the B vitamins, vitamin C, and essential minerals you need to stay in tip-top condition.

We offer custom formulas that address a variety of health goals, from weight loss to energy to stress reduction. 

So, can you break down the main differences between the B12 shots and the Vitamin IVs?

B12 Shot:

  • Treatment Duration: Less than 5 minutes
  • Delivery method: Gluteal muscle
  • Volume of nutrients/fluid: Approx. 3 mL
  • Average Cost: $40

Vitamin IV (“Fast Bag”):

  • Treatment Duration: 15-20 min.
  • Delivery method: Vein accessed through the inside of the arm
  • Volume of nutrients/fluid: Approx. 120 mL
  • Average Cost: $85

Vitamin IV Therapy and Vitamin Shots at Spark Health

If you are interested in learning more about the vitamin shots or vitamin IVs we offer at Spark Health, give us a call at 858-228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com. We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals! 

The Spark Health Clinic is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. 

Thank you,

` The Spark Team

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Maggini, et al. Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. British Journal of Nutrition (2007), 98
  2. Tamura J, Kubota K, Murakami H, Sawamura M, Matsushima T, Tamura T, Saitoh T, Kurabayashi H & Naruse T (1999) Immunomodulation by vitamin B12: augmentation of CD8þT lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cell activity in vitamin B12-deficient patients by methyl-B12 treatment. Clin Exp Immunol;16,28-32.
  3. Berenson, et al. Effect of hormonal contraceptives on vitamin B12 level and the association of the latter with bone mineral density. Contraception. 2012 November ; 86(5): 481-487
  4. Zhao-Wei Ting, et al. Risk Factors of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Patients Receiving Metformin. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1975-1979
  5. Herrmann et al. Causes and early diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105:680-5.

Non-Pharmaceutical Options for Symptoms of ADHD

Alternative Treatments for ADHD Symptoms

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a behavioral condition characterized by persistent inattention and/or impulsive, hyperactive behaviors.

These symptoms show up in childhood and interfere with social, academic or occupational activities. ADHD is understood to be a result of multifactorial causes including genetics.

Genes specifically affecting the regulation of dopamine and glutamate are associated with ADHD. Neurologically, there are differences in brain structure in the frontal cortex, cerebellum and parietal lobes as well as reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex in patients affected by ADHD compared to those without ADHD.

Other biological elements associated with ADHD include:

  • Prematurity and low birth weight
  • Exposure to toxins or infections during pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic stressors during early childhood (2)

Although symptoms of ADHD tend to improve in late adolescence, many adults still suffer from this condition. The standard treatments for ADHD are stimulant drugs such as amphetamine salts (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin), but these drugs are associated with a high level of abuse and side effects. 

If you answer yes to any of the below questions, we are ready to lead you toward your highest expression of health through a personalized, individual approach. 

  • Do you or a loved one suffer from ADHD?
  • Are you interested in taking a different approach from the standard pharmaceutical treatments?
  • Do you want to learn more about specialized testing that can help address some of the imbalances underlying ADHD? 
  • Do you want to explore the non-pharmaceutical options that are on the cutting edge of addressing this condition? 

Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments for ADHD Treatments

There are many angles we are able to take as Naturopathic Doctors to help address conditions like ADHD.

The first consideration is the importance of the gut-brain axis (GBA). There is a direct connection between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the enteric nervous system (the neurons responsible for intestinal functions).

Did you know that the majority of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the body is actually produced in the gut itself? The enteric nervous system surprisingly uses more than 30 neurotransmitters.

The activities going on in the gut are often indicative of processes going on in the brain, and vice versa. It is well understood that gastrointestinal inflammation and dysbiosis can contribute to alterations in mood and behavior.

Specifically, research shows a connection between altered GI flora and ADHD. Therefore, if we are able to address intestinal functioning properly, we are able to change the activities of the central nervous system. 

We do this by using stool testing and other personalized functional lab testing. From the results of a stool analysis, we may make specific recommendations on supplements, probiotics, or dietary changes that can enhance gastrointestinal functioning and therefore help address ADHD symptoms. (1,2)

There is also evidence that persons with ADHD exhibit more susceptibility to food allergies than persons without ADHD. (2) Improvements in behavior can be seen often on certain types of elimination diets. (3)

Here at Spark Health, we can test for antibodies to 96 or 184 foods, depending on individual needs.

Food sensitivities are different from food allergies in the reaction that they create in the body. Many doctors test only immediate allergies to foods, such as peanuts, which can lead to immediate anaphylactic reactions.

But this doesn’t give us information about how repeated exposure to certain foods over a long term can impact health. By testing for food sensitivities, we take the guesswork out of the equation, so you have a clear sense of which foods to avoid and which foods to include in the diet. 

Other tests that we may utilize include neurotransmitter testing (measured by a urine sample), which allows us to assess levels of amino acids and amines that turn into the chemical messengers that make up our brain chemistry.

Although we are unable to directly measure the neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, we can use urinary levels to see certain patterns that may be associated with disorders such as ADHD. From these results, we can create a personalized plan that can help to balance out neurotransmitters and alleviate symptoms. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Spark Health approach to personalized natural medicine, give us a call at 858-228-4188 or you can email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals!

~The Spark Team

REFERENCES 

1. Carabotti M, et al. The Gut-Brain axis: Interactions Between Enteric Microbiota, Central and Enteric Nervous Systems. Annals of Gastroenterology (2015); 28,203-209

2. Petra AI, et al. Gut-microbiota-brain Axis and Its Effect on Neuropsychiatric Disorders With Suspected Immune Dysregulation. Clinical Therapeutics (2015); 37

3. De Theije CG, et al. Food Allergy and Food-Based Therapies in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Pediatric Allergy Immunol. 2014;25:218-226

How Micronutrient Deficiencies Could Be Holding You Back from Your Optimal Health

Spark Lifestyle Services

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

Micronutrient Deficiencies

Sometimes eating healthy, exercising and taking a multivitamin isn’t enough to support optimal health.

If you are doing those things but still feel fatigued, stressed, or otherwise out of balance, testing for micronutrient deficiencies should be considered. Micronutrient deficiency refers to having a low amount of the vitamins and minerals your body requires for daily biological processes.

Approximately 40 micronutrients are required in the human diet. Inadequate intake of micronutrients is known as an important contributor to increased rates of illness. (1,3)

In developing countries, micronutrient deficiencies are widespread, and cause very serious symptoms and even death. In the U.S., deficiencies can be less obvious and can cause silent issues that accumulate over time, such as DNA damage.

In fact, micronutrient deficiencies can damage DNA in the same way that radiation does. Micronutrient deficiencies have been associated with cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, weight gain and obesity, cognitive issues, and lowered immunity. (3)

Common Micronutrient Deficiencies

  • magnesium
  • zinc
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin D
  • selenium
  • vitamin A
  • calcium
  • folate

Am I at Risk Of Having A Micronutrient Deficiency?

Those particularly at high risk of micronutrient deficiencies are:

  • patients on a low calorie diet
  • smokers
  • patients following a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • those who eat few fruits and vegetables
  • patients who have undergone gastric or bariatric surgeries, and those recovering from illnesses.

However, anyone can be affected by micronutrient deficiencies. (2)

Micronutrient Testing

Micronutrient testing provides information on how well the body utilizes vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants. The micronutrient test that we use at Spark Health functionally measures how nutrients are used inside the cells, specifically lymphocytes.

The lymphocytes are placed in various nutrient conditioned media, and are observed for growth. Since the life span of a lymphocyte is approximately four to six months, this micronutrient test provides an average of nutrient status over a longer period of time.

This is very different from simply testing blood levels, which are constantly changing. Furthermore, the micronutrient panel we run does not require any fasting or specific preparation. Patients do not need to stop taking their medications or supplements, and can even receive IV nutrient therapy without it affecting their results.

IV Nutrient Therapy

Based on this micronutrient test, we are able to make personalized recommendations.

We can make a customized IV bag based on what your micronutrient test says you are deficient in. We can deliver concentrated levels vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and amino acids directly into the bloodstream through an IV.

With certain nutrients, IV therapy provides up to 10 times the absorption of oral supplementation. By administering the nutrients directly into the bloodstream, our cells are able to effectively metabolize the nutrients they require for optimal function and healing.

Spark Health’s IV Nutrient Therapy Program

For more information about how micronutrient deficiencies could be holding you back from your optimal health, give us at a call at 858-228-4188 or email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team

REFERENCES

1. Black, R.E. Micronutrient deficiency – an underlying cause of morbidity and mortality. Bull World Health Organ. 2003;81(2):79

2. Shankar, P, Boylan, M, Sriram, K. Micronutrient deficiencies after bariatric surgery. Nutrition 2010; 26: 1031–1037.

3. Ames, B.N. Micronutrient Deficiencies A Major Cause of DNA Damage. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999;889:87-106

Sun Safety and Skin Health

Spark Lifestyle Services

Summer is just around the corner which means our exposure to sun will increase. Whether it’s laying out on the beach or walking to and from our cars, we are constantly exposed to the sun.

We recommend some amount of sunlight in order to support optimal Vitamin D levels, hormones, and a healthy mood but for optimum skin health, you want to avoid too much exposure to sun.

Sun Safety Tips

  • Choose your sunscreen wisely.
  • Pay attention to the inactive ingredients.
  • Reapply every 2 hours.
  • Support your sunburn.
  • Increase your antioxidants.
  • Take care of sun-damaged skin.

What sunscreen should I use?

Aim to use a mineral based sunscreen like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead of a chemical sunscreen in order to reflect the harmful rays. Many of the chemical sunscreens have been shown to have hormone disrupting effects and high rates of allergic reactions. Not all chemical sunscreens are created equal and the Environmental Working Group has put together an easy chart to help you navigate sunscreen ingredients.

Here are some of our favorite mineral sunscreen brands:

  • MyChelle
  • W.S. Badger Company
  • Goddess Garden
  • All Terrain

Pay attention to the inactive ingredients.

Stay away from sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A) and keep your Vitamin A use to at night.

How often should I apply sunscreen?

Despite the number of your SPF, you still need to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours to ensure you are continuously protected from the sun.

What do I do if I get sunburned?

In the case you are overexposed to too much sunlight here are some of our favorite after-sun soothing products.

  • Goddess Garden After-Sun Gel with Aloe Spray
  • W.S. Badger After Sun Balm
  • All Terrain Aloe Gel Skin Relief
  • MyChelle Cucumber Cooler Soothing Spray

Increase your antioxidants.

Increasing your dietary and supplemental antioxidants will help protect you from the inside out.

Focus on antioxidant rich foods like berries, leafy greens, carrots, red bell peppers, salmon, chocolate, green tea and high quality coffee.

Talk to your Spark doctor about adding in specific antioxidant support during these months of higher sun exposure.

Take care of sun-damaged skin.

Sometimes we don’t notice the after-effects of our sun exposure until years later. Here are some of our favorite ways to reverse the signs of aging due to sun exposure:

  • Sunscreen.
  • Vitamin.
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
  • Vitamin A.
  • Growth Factors.

Sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen daily to any areas of sun damage no matter what. This includes your neck, chest, and don’t forget the back of your hands!

Vitamin C.

For added sun protection in the morning use a topical Vitamin C serum for its antioxidant benefits. We love Skin Authority’s Super-C Serum and Devita’s C-Pro Plus for a 20% Vitamin C content that will help to brighten dark spots and increase collagen production.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids.

AHAs are exfoliants that are used to get rid of dead skin cells and can improve the appearance of sun damaged skin. We love Skin Authority’s Resurfacing Accelerator and Suki Skincare’s Resurfacing Enzyme Peel.

Vitamin A.

Whether you can tolerate a retinol or need a gentler version like retinyl palmitate, vitamin A is one of the best anti-aging nutrients around. Remember to only use in the evening! Our favorites are Skin Authority’s Vitamin A Cell Renewal and AllVia’s Retinol Cream.

Growth Factors.

With sun damage comes fine lines and wrinkles and one the best ways to nourish sun damaged skin is with Skin Authority’s Skin Growth Factor Technology (SGF-4). Using the Wrinkle Reversing Serum and Dramatic Eye Lift in the morning will tighten and brighten those areas that have had a little too much sun.

Is My Sunscreen Safe?

If you are curious about the safety of your sunscreen you have at home, use the Environmental Working Group Cosmetics Database to search for the safety of your products.

Learn More About Spark Health

For more information about Sun Safety and Skin Health, give us at a call at 858-228-4188 or email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team

Acne and IV Nutrient Therapy

two people receiving IV therapy treatments

Acne is one of those conditions that can have a multitude of causes. At Spark Health, it is always our goal to be able to identify the root cause of your acne so that we can prevent it from happening in the first place.

The triggers can be multifactorial which is where a functional lab evaluation with a Spark doctor can help to identify your personal acne triggers. Whether the cause is coming from dysregulated hormones or a poor functioning digestive system, nutrient deficiencies are almost always involved.

Since it can be a challenge to achieve proper nutrient absorption from our food and/or supplements, IV nutrient therapy is a great way to ensure you are getting 100% absorption of those key nutrients.

IV Nutrient Therapy for Acne

Our Acne Support IV bag provides comprehensive support for our patients suffering with acne breakouts.

Here is a breakdown of my favorite acne fighting nutrients that are highlighted in our Acne Support IV bag:

  • Vitamin B3: Acne prevention, lowers sebum production, down regulates inflammation
  • Vitamin B5 : Acne prevention, balances oil production
  • Vitamin B6: Acne prevention associated with hormonal fluctuations
  • Carnitine: Works together with vitamin B5 to balance oil production, supports the immune system, increases cellular repair
  • Vitamin C: Antioxidant, supports collagen formation, boosts immune system, increases wound healing
  • Selenium: Antioxidant, reduces inflammation, thyroid supportive
  • Glutathione: Antioxidant, liver supportive, decreases inflammation, collagen supportive

Learn More About IV Nutrient Therapy and Acne

For more information about Acne and IV Nutrients, give us at a call at 858-228-4188 or email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team